22/10/2019 LC

Posn 1.026 – 103.67

Five robbers armed with guns and knives boarded a bulk carrier near the western end of the Singapore Strait.

They threatened a crewmember, tied his hands and briefly held him hostage.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said the incident happened shortly after midnight on October 20.

The bulk carrier, the 180,000 deadweight tonne (dwt) NORD STEEL, was underway some ten kilometres south of the Indonesian island of Pulau Nipa.

The robbers stole spares from the ship’s stores before fleeing.

This was the second bulk carrier boarded in the western approaches to the Singapore Strait in less than a month.

Shortly before midnight on September 30, intruders boarded a bulker underway off the Indonesia island of Pulau Cula.

There has been a spike in incidents involving thieves boarding vessels in and around the Singapore Strait, especially at the Strait’s western end.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) recorded 15 incidents in the first nine months of 2019.

All but one of those incidents involved the theft of scrap metal from unmanned barges under tow.

There have also been incidents of intruders boarding vessels in the eastern approaches to the Singapore Strait.

Two ships, a tanker and a general cargo ship, were boarded within hours of each other in the early hours of September 26.

Ships in and around the Singapore Strait should maintain strict watches and be alert for the approach of small craft.

Crews should sound an alarm and alert the authorities if they see any vessels behaving suspiciously.

Source: Gray Page